With regard to the heading on Michael Stark’s letter (April 2003 issue) I would suggest that it is not so much history “standing still”, more a case of history repeating itself. Compare the run-up and first race of 2003 with the same period in 1958.
On each occasion a five-time world champion turned out with an old car left over from the previous year, put it on pole and finished fourth. In both cases the governing body had introduced some late changes to both the technical rules and the weekend format. The causes of these changes included a loss of public appeal, the blight of team orders and an escalation of costs. Then as now the changes proved extremely controversial and the managements of the two leading British teams of the day were to be the most vociferous.
Another similarity: the collapse of a British team during the previous season was preceded by the failure of a French-owned equipe to survive to the start of the year.
Four different drivers, including the reigning world champion, led the opening race and, even though two team-mates finished in the top three places, it could not be said that any particular marque dominated the events. The best-known and most experienced British driver won both times from a middling position on the grid. And their respective cars had not always been fully competitive the previous season, although Monaco provided a notable exception each time.
And in both 1958 and 2003 the wins have been credited to superior tyre strategies, coupled by the early retirement of one of the Ferraris and various handling problems for another.
See what I mean?
I am, yours etc,
David Cole, Oakham, Rutland